History in Pennsylvania today, as the state senate voted to confirm Dr. Rachel Levine as the Physician General.
The vote, which was unanimous, makes Levine the first transgender person appointed to a Governor’s cabinet in Pennsylvania.
Recognized nationally and statewide for what officials described as “her excellence in the fields of pediatrics and psychology,” Dr. Levine also served on the board of Equality PA and has been a advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.
“I am very proud to have served on the board of Equality PA with Dr. Levine. She is an excellent physician and we look forward to her tenure as the Physician General of Pennsylvania,” said Jessica Rothchild, President of Equality PA’s Board, according to WTAE-TV.
House Rep. Dan Frankel, a democrat who co-chairs the Legislature's LGBT equality caucus, called Levine's confirmation a first for Pennsylvania.
“I’m thankful that the Senate has confirmed the leadership in the Departments of Health, Revenue and Corrections,” said Governor Tom Wolf, in a statement. “Physician General Rachel Levine, Secretary Eileen McNulty and Secretary John Wetzel are all stellar public servants who are ready to lead in their respective departments.”
Wolf named Levine Acting Physician General in January, just days before his own swearing-in, and announced she would have a seat in his cabinet.
Speaking to Pennsylvania newspaper The Patriot-News in January about how "meaningful" her nomination is, Levine explained that being transgender has given her a unique perspective that aids public health.
"I think [being trans] has helped me in terms of the LGBT community in terms of understanding what all the issues are," she said. "And I think I've been able to serve as a mentor and role model to LGBT individuals at the medical center as well as in the community."
Wolf's administration calls Levine an expert in pediatrics and psychiatry and says she helped start a division at Penn State Hershey Medical Center for the care of teens with complex medical and psychosocial problems.